I thought this post from Tim Challies was very good as it really shows that helping the poor isn't as simple as so many Christian leaders want you to beleive.
"Just send money," or, "We'll just build a well," sounds nice but there is more to curb systemic poverty than middle class know-nothing Christians going into a country, or even into poor areas of their own country and "meddling." Here is what Challies writes about the root of poverty and many times our well-meaning but futile attempts to "help."
A $300 car payment sounds shameful when you consider that for many people that is as much money as they live off for an entire year. But it’s also just reality—we need cars and that is just what they cost in our context. We may feel evil for spending $20,000 on a car; but that is just what cars cost. The simple solution is to drive beat-up cars and send as much money as we can to foreign missions. But it’s not that simple. Third world countries do not need money; they need economic infrastructure that can generate wealth. Helping the poor is not as simple as giving them money—something to keep in mind when approached on the street by a panhandler. These are the kinds of things I find myself wrestling with.
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